learning schools

Learning schools


Case study 1

Collaborative learning and working through networks, Austria



In 2017 Wales developed schools as learning organisations (SLOs) a key means for realising improvements in schools and curriculum. An SLO has the capacity to change and

adapt routinely to new environments and circumstances as its members, individually and together, learn their way to realising their vision. Collective working and learning and expanding the skills and learning of new ones by many teachers, teaching support staff, school leaders and others involved is believed essential for bringing Wales’ new curriculum to life.

Editor's comments

If a school focuses on the learning of the individual at the centre of all activities then high quality outcomes should follow. This philosophy of the individual being at the core of practice will also show through the schools mission statement. This MESHGuide shows a model of education which is unified - staff, students and the community are all working together for the same goals. Learning Schools are flexible and outward facing, working with community to make education relevant.

Practical tools to use

A Facilitator Toolkit from the NCSL gives examples of techniques and tools to facilitate adult learning. It is available at www.nationalcollege.org.uk › cm-mc-fac-resource-tool

Dip into Pedler & Aspinwall’s ‘ A Concise Guide to the Learning Organization’.

TOOL. How does your organisation measure up?’ 

TOOL the Organizational Readiness to Learn activity

Also try Pearn, Roderick and Mulrooney’s book ‘Learning Organizations in Practice.

TOOL. Learning Audit

21st century learning

Helping students to develop as confident, enthusiastic and effective learners is a central purpose of education. In this they make meaning rather than receive it.  They make decisions and solve authentic problems. They make use of a range of technologies. Their learning is active, driven by  learner agency and when appropriate, is collaborative. It demonstrates creativity and innovation and is relevant to the real world. They see themselves as learners and understand the learning process.

Areas for further research

This work is influenced by research on professional learning communities, leadership, learning organisations. Case studies would be welcome demonstrating how these ideas work in different contexts. 

Leadership of learning

The role of a leader becomes more critical and important as organisations continuously improve and evolve.  An extensive research base supports the view that leadership is the most important element of effective schools (Elmore, 2000; Stoll, 2004).

Learning communities

In high-performing systems, professional learning communities (PLCs) have emerged as a cornerstone program. These are groups of teachers who meet as teams to examine student achievement, set achievement goals, identify essential and valued student learning, develop formative and common summative assessments, share teaching strategies and best practices. The expectation is that this collaborative effort will produce improved student achievement.  At the heart of the concept, however, is the notion of community.

Organisation and team learning

There is a growing expectation that schools will show an ability to learn, for individuals (teachers, leaders, other adults participating in school work) and the school organisation. Organisational learning (OL) is how organisations reach the ideal of a learning organisation.


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